This last week was another snow week. On Wednesday and Thursday we got several inches of new snow. It has been many years since we have had snow banks as high as they are now and there are several snow months still to come. On Friday after everything the newly groomed, the entire Gunflint Trail was glorious. Our weekend guests knew they had stepped into a winter wonderland.
It seems in the winter we have lots more animal sightings than in the summer. I always feel that winter is when we truly know that this forest is shared with all the resident animals. The new animal this year is lynx. One of the neighbors spotted a lynx chasing a squirrel. Both animals were distracted by the car. The lynx recovered just a couple of seconds quicker and he caught the squirrel. Our squirrel and rabbit population had gone down as the lynx population has increased.
Sunday morning the guests in Cabin #2 had a surprise. They stepped outside their cabin to walk down to the lodge for breakfast. Who should be on the road to greet them but a lynx.
Of course, not all is sweetness and light with our animal population. The guests down by Cabins #17 and #18 woke up Saturday morning to find a freshly killed deer outside their windows. They had not heard anything. The kill was so fresh that at 7:30 in the morning the animal’s remains were still steaming. Sunday the staff dragged the remains down to the lake. I am sure that it is almost gone today.
On Friday one of our guests checked in all excited. When she was six years old, she had seen a moose in Wyoming. Since then she had never seen one. Driving up the Trail on Friday she saw five moose. You can’t imagine how excited she was.
Our neighbor Dave Tuttle also had a close encounter with a moose. He was driving home in his pickup with the plow on it after dark and south of Swamper Lake. Suddenly he realized that the black lump in front of him was the butt of a moose kneeling down to lick the salt on the road. Dave couldn’t stop so he headed for the center of the road. There he can react to the way the moose moves. By an inch he missed the moose but now his truck’s rear end is sliding an may hit the moose. Dave steers out of it, doesn’t hit anything and stays on the road.
The fishing season for lake trout opened on Gunflint Lake on Saturday. We had a fair number of fishermen out in front of the lode. It seems like people were getting fish. I talked with a family who got five trout on Extortion Lake. They worked for them walking down and up the big hill to get to the lake.
Great progress is being made on the new staff housing. It is a huge building with 16 rooms. Each room can accommodate 2-4 people and has a bathroom and kitchen. For seasonal staff it should work out very well.